“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”                                                                                                                -John Quincy Adams

A vote is a terrible thing to waste.  Conservatives frequently bemoan their options of voting for the lesser of two evils and that, as a result, the government continues to grow and our lives become further regulated.  Yet in the primary when we do have a choice between lesser evil and non-evil candidates, otherwise right-minded voters still choose ideologically flawed candidates over superior candidates with solid records, citing “electibility.”  How do we reach our conservative goals when we are still voting for evil?  Those who advocate voting for a flawed candidate strictly to win are themselves the problem.  They go on to complain about the slide toward socialism and a growing, central government, often loudly over the airwaves, when they themselves are promoting bigger government through their advocacy of such candidates.  They conveniently ignore a candidate’s voting record during the time when it most matters - the primary season.  Even when the choices are between principled candidates and flawed candidates, they lose their spine for fear of being ostracized by the establishment.

The chance to frame the debate in conservative terms is lost on those who wish only to win elections.  Those who advocate bigger and more intrusive government have been successful by continually making incremental moves toward socialism and over-regulation by taking extreme positions until they are perceived to be mainstream.  Only then do they accept a lesser version of their program, knowing that the opposition will go along with a lesser evil, saving the next push for the next election.  The conservative establishment always succumbs by accepting and even endorsing these programs after the fact.  Is anyone advocating eliminating the Department of Education as Reagan did?  Instead, conservatives endorse bigger federal education programs, as long as they are “conservative” programs.  We are no longer against the Clean Water Act; we are merely against the expansion of the Clean Water Act, which we will also accept and endorse in years to come to stave off the next nationalization of property initiative.  We have accepted national healthcare and a manipulative tax code, preferring to implement further tax code tinkering with health care credits and mandates instead of framing the debate for an entirely free market.  And, despite our protests, we continue to nominate and endorse candidates taking us down the gentler path to our demise.

On the other hand,what would one accomplish by voting on principle if the election is then lost to the worst possible candidate?  Are we not better off if our demise is at least slowed by nominating a moderate candidate as opposed to a principled candidate who cannot get elected and thus hand control to a victor who will plunge our nation into a socialistic nightmare without even tapping the brakes?  True, this won’t eliminate the Department of Education, but we can push for conservative federal policies in education.  We can push for a flat tax, perhaps succeeding in shaving off a percentage point temporarily for lower- and middle-income Americans.  Better something than nothing!  In fact, the one thing that matters more than pushing conservative policy is the Supreme Court and the appointments thereto.  A lesser evil at least promises strict constructionist appointments, ones who will vote more conservatively than the candidate himself.  If this promise doesn’t trump conscience, we are all surely damned to ever vote quixotically, and to lose the little grasp we have left.

The Chairman, plagued by a devil and an angel on either shoulder, has called for a debate to settle the question:

Resolved:  Vote Your Conscience!

The Debate will be held on Wednesday November 14, 2007 at the University Club, 420 Summit Avenue, in Saint Paul. The Chancellor will preside over drinks beginning at seven o'clock p.m. The debate will begin at half past seven. While there is no dress code for attendance, gentlemen who wish to speak must wear a tie; ladies should adhere to a similar sartorial standard. For those gentlemen who arrive tieless yet wish to speak, fret not: the Purveyor of Ties will keep on hand at least one of his quite remarkable ties for just such an eventuality. Questions about debate caucus procedures or about the John Adams Society itself may be directed to the Chairman at (612) 486-8059 or the Secretary at (952) 470-8090.